We Go Again!


Jarrod Southern

Following the collapse last weekend at Bournemouth, Jurgen Klopp’s team will be looking to bounce back from a horrendous seventeen minutes that saw us squander a 3-1 lead, losing 4-3 to Eddie Howe’s free flowing Bournemouth side. It left us stunned and lamenting our frustrations on social media, with keeper Loris Karius in particular coming in for some criticism, not making saves that we all felt he could of and perhaps should of made. Although, the blame wasn’t to land entirely as his doorstep, with some key errors at vital moments in our defensive third in the closing stages of the game by experience center back Dejan Lovren (who to be fair has vastly improved over the last 12 months) that suggests the blame falls with more than one player, and some experts have even questioned the decision by Jurgen Klopp to not introduce Ragnar Klavan when Ryan Fraser made it 3-2 to provide some cover for Lucas, who along with Lovren, was getting pulled apart a little to easily. When Nathan Ake’ tapped in the winner from close range following Loris Karius not holding the initial attempt on goal you started to get those similar feelings all over again, and although we all knew a game like that was coming, at 3-1 up, we didn’t think it would have been today.


Luckily for us though, the captain of our ship is as smart as he is eccentric on the touch line and within 24 hours the squad were off to Barcelona on a team building exercise that coincided with a champions league game at Camp Nou, a exercise that would no doubt proved to be useful for players still in a daze as to how they let it slip, when they appeared to be coasting to another three points, against a Bournemouth team, that had never beaten Liverpool.

Our focus now switches to a West Ham team that is in total disarray following a poor start to the season that see’s them in the relegation zone, and after being completely out played in a 5-1 home defeat to North London rivals, Arsenal. Perhaps, now would be the perfect time for Jurgen Klopp’s, Liverpool side to get one over on the Hammers, a team we played four times last season losing three and drawing one, which included a 4th round F.A. Cup exit and our last victory against The Hammers was at the beginning of 2015.

West Ham, are a team in trouble, they’ve conceded 29 goals in the league so far, and their manager, Slaven Bilic, is a man under pressure, and one who could become the second premiership manager this season to be axed if result don’t improve, and they will be looking to bounce back from last weeks humiliation. Considering where they are in the table, coupled with the fact they up against the leagues top scorers (Liverpool were the team that had scored the most goals at the beginning of match day 15) at Anfield, you can expect to see a familiar sight at home tomorrow, a team keeping it very tight and compact at the back, with as much as up seven or eight players behind the ball and not wanting to conceded an early goal or give us any space in front of the 18 yard box, because we’ve proved this season, once we break a team down and force them to be more adventuress in getting forward with the ball, we can really exploit the gaps that open up beyond the midfield and in front of the opposition’ defense.

Two respected Liverpool journalists have suggested Klopp goes with a 4-4-2 diamond against The Hammers, but I will be very surprised if we see anything other than a front three, with Wijnaldum and Can just behind them, and Jordan Henderson in the deeper role he’s played all season. What I am interested to see is our bench and whether or not youngster’s Oviemuno Ejaria and Ben Woodburn, despite the later playing 90 minutes for the U23’s in their 1-1 draw with West Brom make an appearance. Regardless of what happened in the last seventeen minutes against Bournemouth, we all will be glued to our television screens at 10:30 cheering on the men in Red, expecting to see exciting, relentless attacking football and sending The Hammers back to the East End with added misery.



Swansea City 1-2 Liverpool: Three Things We Learned


Set pieces are still an issue

Once again, Liverpool conceded on a set-piece goal on Saturday. Once again, it was not the initial ball, but the second ball that Liverpool could not clear.

Clyne was second best to Borja in the aerial duel on the corner kick and Lovren found himself on the wrong side of van der Hoorn when the ball was headed back to the center.

If Liverpool want to achieve their goals this year, the sloppy positioning from set-pieces has to be eliminated. Of course, I don’t have the answer. But hopefully someone on Jürgen Klopp’s staff does.

Loris Karius is Not Manuel Neuer

….Yet. During the 2014 World Cup, Germany head coach Joachim Low said that Manuel Neuer is so technically gifted with his feet that he could even play in midfield. There was a sense that Liverpool fans expected much of the same from the former Manchester City youth player.

On Saturday, Karius looked uncomfortable at best. He flapped at several attempted clearances, and almost bobbled an easy-looking save into his own net. As the game wore on, he looked less and less confident with the ball at his feet, sending a few wayward clearances to the opposition.

There weren’t very many bright spots to point out at Swansea for Karius, not least the command of his area, which almost cost Liverpool two points in the dying moments of the game when he stayed back on his line and allowed van der Hoorn a free header from a few yards out.

A reminder then, is necessary. The man only just turned 23 in June. He came to England off of the back of a wonderful season in the Bundesliga in which he was considered perhaps the second-best goalie in Germany, behind only Neuer.

His starting position, most of the time 15 or more yards away from his own box when Liverpool have the ball, will be important for the way the team want to play this year.

Maybe most importantly, Klopp trusts him. As soon as he was healthy, Karius became the starting goalkeeper. At least for his first ten starts or so, this should buy him the benefit of the doubt with Liverpool fans.

The Team Believes in Itself

Especially after Adam Lallana went off injured, Liverpool were not the best team on the field in the first half. After Leroy Fer’s 8th minute goal, the Reds struggled to get themselves into the game.

The midfield did not know how to cope without Lallana, the all-action English midfield dynamo, who was named the team’s September Player of the Month. Firmino and Sturridge seemed to have difficulty making room for each other at the point of attack. The combination between Henderson and Wijnaldum seemed as stretched as it had been all season.

Swansea City seemed first to every ball and overwhelmed the middle of the pitch. They swarmed Liverpool, not allowing time on the ball for anyone in red. Some might say Liverpool were lucky to get into halftime down just 1-0.

But this was different than Burnley. Nobody panicked. Nobody forced shots. Nobody got frustrated. The team continued to recycle possession and work up the field in the way it wants to play. They believed in each other and they believed in the system.

They believed that because Swansea City needed to play at such high level and fast pace to get ahead, they would run themselves out of the game. All that belief payed off.

Towards the end of the first half, Liverpool’s influence was growing and the Swansea players’ levels seemed to drop off a bit. Klopp got his men in at halftime and undoubtedly made subtle tweaks, as any manager would, but most of his time was probably was spent reassuring the team to go again.

In the second half, Liverpool were clearly the better team. There was always a sense that the goals were going to come.

Firmino’s brilliant positioning when the Swans’ back line stepped out on Coutinho’s free-kick was picked out by an in-form Henderson for the first. Firmino again put himself in the middle of it all later in the second half, and all Swansea could do was bring him down to prevent him from grabbing a second.

Despite conceding within the first ten minutes of the game, despite giving up a goal on another set piece, and despite a shaky performance from the Reds new No. 1, heads never dropped. This team is still growing and learning about one-another, and Saturday in Swansea, they showed the kind of belief they will need to become Champions.